Jarome Luai update: Panthers CEO says Luai is “not going anywhere”

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
22/12/2023
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Panthers CEO throws cold water on Luai to Tigers move

Jarome Luai’s move to Tigers may not happen before the 2024 NRL season, if recent comments from Panthers are to be believed.  

News Insights

  • Jarome Luai has been linked to Tigers for months
  • Tigers have offered Luai a $6 million contract.
  • Luai has told his teammates he’s leaving.
  • The club now says Luai will not go this year.

Penrith Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher appears to have delivered a death blow to Jarome Luai’s move to Tigers this week. The executive revealed that his club will not be letting the star five-eighth leave Panthers before the end of the 2024 NRL season. 

Panthers CEO says Luai will not go 

Fletcher spoke at length to Nine News about Jarome Luai, the player’s future, and about Panthers more generally. Of course, the comments about Luai are what stole the headlines.  
 
All the speculation is rubbish. He’ll be playing for Panthers,” Fletcher said about Luai’s future.“ Just in case you weren’t sure about whether Fletcher was serious, he made his and the club’s stance plainly clear shortly after calling the speculation rubbish
 
He will be playing here. We haven’t released any players before, and under no circumstances will Jarome be going anywhere for 2024. After that, we just wish him and his family all the best,” Fletcher said emphatically.  
 
Fletcher then went on to criticise the NRL and its salary rules, saying “It’s just a pity that the cap forces these good players out eventually when you’re having the success we’re having. We love him to death and we need him to play here next year.” 
 
Despite all of Fletcher’s strong comments, even he had to admit that Luai will be gone soon. “After that [the 2024 NRL season], After that, we just wish him and his family all the best.”

Luai is ready to leave Panthers  

Fletcher's comments have been greeted by Panthers fans as a great sign for them and their 2024 NRL season, but many are worrying that it might be too late to salvage Luai’s relationship with the club.  
 
Luai reportedly told his teammates weeks ago that he was ready to leave the club before the start of the 2024 NRL season. The five-eighth has not formally requested a move away from Panthers, but it may get to that point soon. On Monday, he refused to show up for training. It’s unclear whether he attended the club’s training session on Tuesday.  
 
According to Luai, he still needs time to recover from his shoulder injury. With the club taking a break for the Christmas period, Luai might not join his teammates until January. That’s if he does not leave before then.  

Tigers target Luai, Canterbury also interested

Why is Luai so set on leaving Panthers right now? It’s because Wests Tigers have offered the 26-year-old a massive five-year, $6 million contract. This would make Luai one of the highest paid players in the league. It would also make him the centrepiece of Tigers’ rebuild under new boss Benji Marshall.  
 
Tigers finished bottom of the ladder last season. The betting sites have them as likely to finish around there again next season, but if they get Luai, their odds might change.  
 
Another side interested in Luai are Canterbury Bulldogs, who were also near the bottom of the table last season. They have reportedly offered the five-eighth a five-year contract as well, but most reports claim Luai is not as seriously interested in joining Bulldogs as he is in Tigers.  

If Luai stays with Panthers, they will undoubtedly be NRL Premiership favourites. The club have won three straight and appear to be just as strong heading into this season as they were last year. PlayUp has them as Premiership favourites with $3.75 odds.